Archive for September, 2009

These days, it’s cool to be going green. And there’s a good reason. If we want to sustain the world for our children, and our children’s children, we need to do things differently. Things like reducing waste, consuming less energy and reducing pollution.

All of these things are certainly do-able, though we have to make some sacrifices. These sacrifices, for the most part, aren’t large. The tough part is changing our habits.

plastic-bag-noGovernments have also been getting into the act by creating laws, particularly ones that encourage citizens to reduce waste. In this spirit, in November 2007, San Francisco banned plastic bags from being distributed by large supermarkets, with retail pharmacy chains being covered under the ban since May of 2008. In July of this year, residents of the rural town of Bundanoon voted to ban sales of bottled water in their community. And in Toronto, since June of this year, plastic bags can no longer be given out by any business for free – they cost 5 cents each.

Now, there are pros and cons to every approach. And with a law or not in place, I do my part to be as green as I can. I try to only have the lights on at home when I need them. I’m fortunate to be able to drive a hybrid car. And I use reusable bags for shopping whenever possible.

However, being in Toronto with my family for the last couple of weeks, I constantly forget about the new law. Though the law frustrates me, it’s not the intent – I believe if done the right way, this is a great thing. However, the way the money is handled and how far it reaches is something to think about. Knowing this, the question I have is, is this the right means to the end? (more…)


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If a company wants to thrive, it’s important to understand what their customers want. After all, giving a customer just what they want is among the best ways to create loyalty, trust and effortless word-of-mouth marketing. This is also a great way to encourage repeat customers to increase their spend over time.

And the best way to give a customer what they want is to understand their motivations and how they truly feel. If you empathize with the customer, it’s much easier to know their wants and needs. An athlete, or someone who can truly empathize with athletes, is going to be better at creating an improved running shoe than most. A gamer knows the kind of features needed to make a new video game system a big hit. (more…)

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The big things – like fulfilling a brand’s promise – is the main item that needs to be accomplished for a company to keep customers coming back. If a brand promises the customer a seamless experience, for example, and it doesn’t, then why should they come back?

But there’s also no doubt that little things can mean the difference between a customer coming back and one that will go to a competitor. Sometimes, its so small that your customers won’t realize its being done until it isn’t. Sometimes, it’s so basic and is just common sense, so customers don’t think about it. And often, these little things don’t cost money, or cost very little, yet provide the customer another reason to come back.


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